Better than ever

More successful than ever, Foodex Meatex attracted over 16,800 visitors this year, 20 per cent up on the show two years ago.

The feedback from both visitors and exhibitors was extremely positive.

Mark Bishop, director of Interfood said: "It was excellent. In addition to some very positive leads, we actually sold well over £400,000 worth of equipment directly from the stand."

Greg Smith, of A W Smith & Son, was equally enthusiatic about the show and, in particular, Independents' Day. "William Reed has created a great show, a huge leap since 2004. Independents' Day was a great show."

Butchers' shop fitters and refrigeration specialist, Acold Sifa, was inundated with enquiries at its stand on the first day of the exhibition, according to director Tim Cooper. "We were rushed off our feet on Independents' Day. We couldn't fathom out why we were so busy. From the time the doors opened we didn't stop until 3.30pm and there were still some people arriving between 3.30 and 5pm. There's been some good enquiries."

Acold Sifa, a member of The Guild of Q Butchers and an exhibitor at Foodex for the last 16 years, said there were a lot of enquiries from butchers about fitting out farm shops. Given the success of this year's show, Mr Cooper said he was thinking of booking for the next show already. "I very rarely book exhibitions in advance. I usually leave it until about six months before but I will probably reserve a stand now for the next show."

Tim Stuart, managing director of Windsor Food Machinery said the first two days had been extremely good. He said: "It was very very busy from the first moment people came onto the stand - I took orders straight away. I thought it would get quieter because the butchers were not there but it was almost 100 per cent busier." Windsor sells a range of food processing equipment to customers including independent butchers and large food manufacturers.

He said coming to Foodex Meatex had been a huge investment for the company, but it was worth it with some quality customers visiting the stand, deals closed and promising leads to follow up.

Edward Davies, director of Swancote Foods, who was a visitor, said he was impressed with both the level and quality of exhibitors. "We'll definitely visit next time," he said.

Independents' Day was sponsored by BPEX, Lucas Ingredients, Devro, the Hela Spice Company and AW Smith & Son.

The industry was definitely looking to see what was going to be different at Foodex Meatex 2006, said Andrew Reed, Exhibitions Director at William Reed. "A certain amount of planning, such as the floorplan layout, had been inherited from the old management, but our aim was to revitalise the show and, as a result, unique visitor figures were up by 20 per cent," he added. Independents' Day on Sunday saw the Sausage and Pie evaluations mobbed.

Not only was there an increase in the traditional butchery trade but early reports indicated that some real big business was done as well.

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